By Zhang Ming'ai
Despite the painstaking efforts made by the Chinese Wushu Association to get Wushu into the Olympic Games, it still has a long way to go before it becomes an official Olympic event, Wang Xiaolin, president of the Chinese Wushu Association and director of the National Sports Bureau Wushu Administrative Center, remarked at the inaugural meeting of the Chinese Wushu delegation for the Beijing 2008 Wushu Tournament held in Beijing on August 7, 2008.
Wang Xiaolin(middle), president of the Chinese Wushu Association and director of the National Sports Bureau Wushu Administrative Center, spoke at the inaugural meeting of the Chinese Wushu delegation for the Beijing 2008 Wushu Tournament held in Beijing on August 7, 2008.
According to Wang, two factors increased the difficulties to get Wushu into the Olympics: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is trying to reduce the number of Olympic sports from 28 to 26 over the London Olympic Games, and a number of sports such as karate, golf and squash are seeking to be added to the Olympic program.
Wang further commented that in 2006 the IOC produced new criteria to evaluate whether a potential sports event is eligible for Olympics. First and foremost, the potential sports event must gain a certain ratio of TV coverage; secondly, it should generate enough revenues; thirdly, the sports event shall be able to win sponsorship from world famous companies. These new criteria also make it harder to turn Wushu into an official Olympic sport.
"Even though we had encountered many setbacks in gaining the Olympic recognition of Wushu, we are still very confident and will continue our efforts to make Wushu an Olympic sport," said Wang. "But our final goal is to turn Wushu into a world sport. Actually we have made significant progress in popularizing Wushu worldwide. Wushu has become an official event of a number of regional games such as the Asian Games, the East Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games and South Asian Games. Now we are trying to go for the West Asian Games."
Since Chinese top Wushu experts performed at the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936, 72 years have passed. Wushu has finally got the IOC permission to hold its Beijing 2008 Wushu Tournament during the Beijing Olympic Games.
According to the IOC regulations, non-Olympic sports are not allowed to carry out competitions in the Olympics-hosting cities during the Olympic Games. IOC gave Wushu such an exception, showing IOC's respect and support for the traditional Chinese sport.
The Beijing 2008 Wushu Tournaments is hosted by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), International Wushu Federation (IWUF) and Chinese Wushu Association. It is to be held from August 21 to 24. 128 athletes from 43 countries and regions will come to attend this event.
(China.org.cn August 8, 2008)